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Are you leveraging the power of social media to extend your brand message and connect with more leads? If you haven’t included social media in your marketing strategy yet, it is time to start! Furthermore, you need to make sure you choose the right social media platform for your business.

As you’re defining your social media marketing strategy, the first thing you need to do is develop a good understanding of the various platforms available to you. Why? Because despite their large fan bases, your brand message isn’t going to work on each one.

Plenty of small businesses are finding success on popular platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Each can be used to effectively to grow a significant fan base and generate tons of quality leads for your business.

You may be thinking “That’s great! I’m just going to create brand pages on every social media platform to maximize my potential reach!”

Sign shows many possible social media platforms for small businesses

We totally get your excitement, but you might want to pump the brakes a bit. Unless you have a designated social media manager for your small business, you’re going to end up spreading yourself too thin by trying to develop valuable fan bases on all of these popular platforms.

This brings us back to the primary purpose of this post, which is learning how to identify the right social media platform for your business. Remember that Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all cater to different audiences who are looking to engage with different types of content. Depending on your industry niche, your brand might not appeal to the demographics that a specific platform is popular with.

You’ll need to consider these factors when you’re developing a social media strategy for your business. Otherwise, you could end up investing thousands of hours into building your presence on a social media platform that won’t generate any quality leads for you. That’s a loss you can’t afford to make!

Alright, we’ll move on before this post starts to become redundant. Let’s look at some popular social networks and why you might (or might not) want to include them in your social media marketing strategy!

When evaluating a social platform for your business, keep the following in mind:

  • What is likely the most engaged audience on this platform?
  • Does that audience align well with your target demographic?
  • How much time will it take to build a following on that social media platform?

You can take things a step further by comparing your buyer personas to the demographic data for each social media network you’re considering. This is a great way to ensure you’re investing in social platforms that are a good fit.

If you haven’t invested time in developing buyer personas for your products or services, we highly recommend it.

Facebook

Small businesses competing for likes on FacebookThe famous blue-and-white platform is still the first that many think about first when it comes to social media. With more than a billion active monthly users, Facebook is an excellent option for many brands. This also means that it’s a pretty competitive environment.

Still, by sharing engaging content and interacting with your target demographic, you can build a solid reputation and sizeable fan base for your small business. This can establish your brand as an authority in your specific niche– which leads to higher quality leads!

Key Reasons to be on Facebook:

  • The average user spends 55 minutes on Facebook each day.
  • You can reach a distinct variety of targeted segments with your posts.
  • Once you have a page set up for your brand, you can expand your reach using Facebook advertising.
  • It’s a great platform for sharing testimonials and more detailed information about your business.

Twitter

This is another viable choice for businesses in almost every industry. Twitter might not have a billion users, but there are still more than 300 million– hardly a statistic to sneeze at!

So what about the restrictive character limits? This is a good question and one that admittedly throws many business owners when they first get started on Twitter.

Don’t let it derail you though! With a little practice and creativity, you’ll learn how to relay your message in an effective way. You can also use online tools like Hashtagify to research trending hashtags related to your brand and industry. This is a great way to ensure your tweets are seen by more of your target audience.

Here are some tips for building your brand on Twitter:

  • Share your brand story and offer some sneak peeks into what motivates your small business.
  • Develop relationships with potential customers by responding to their tweets and engaging with them through the platform.
  • Identify your target audience’s big questions, and offer solutions.
  • Monitor for brand mentions and be sure you respond.
  • Be sure to use this social media platform as a tool for providing better customer service.

As with any social media platform, you have the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your industry by sharing quality content and interacting with your target audience (this can and should include other influencers on Twitter).

Linkedin

You might already have a personal profile set up on Linkedin, but it can be a good place for your brand. We stress the word “can,” because this social platform is focused on cultivating business to business (B2B) relationships. This means that your brand message might not resonate with the overall Linkedin audience.

We recommend at least creating a brand page for your small business no matter what, because you’ll get a nice link back to your website. However, it might not play a major role in your social media marketing strategy unless you’re trying to establish some vendor or industry connections.

The benefits of building a presence on Linkedin include:

  • Having a valuable avenue for building business connections and networking
  • Connecting with skilled people who could become future employees
  • Raising awareness for your small business amongst professionals in your area
  • Having another tool for tracking developing trends in your industry

With the availability to join different Linkedin Groups and publish original content through the platform’s own publishing platform, a consistent effort can result in some valuable rapport and credibility for your business.

Pinterest

This is a social media platform that might not be on your radar as a business owner yet, but it’s certainly worth considering. Let the statistics speak for themselves:

Pinterest pins are 100 times easier to share than a tweet, with the average for retweets only reaching 1.4%. As for Facebook, the half-life of a pin is 1,600x longer than a Facebook post!

 
Pinterest pins that can generate leads for your small businessStill not swaying you? How about the fact that a whopping 93% of pinners use Pinterest to plan purchases? That should grab your attention as a business owner!

(You can find more Pinterest stats here if you’re interested.)

Businesses who are using Pinterest successfully aren’t just showcasing their products. They’re building an online scrapbook that effectively communicates their brand identity in a way that engages their target audience.

Here are some compelling attributes to consider with Pinterest:

  • Great platform for visually promoting and highlighting your products/services
  • Pins can be used to drive traffic back to content on your website
  • Well-maintained boards can be developed into lead generation machines!
  • You can micro-target your pins with clearly defined categories

So Facebook can be great for your business, but it’s going to take some time/money to get your business established. That’s a given. If you’re more interested in generating an audience quickly using a variety or promotions and sales, then Pinterest could be a good platform for your business. Just keep in mind that Pinterest might not work for every industry as women still make up the majority of active users.

What’s Your Target Audience?

We mentioned earlier that you can use a buyer persona to help select the right social media platform for your business. That’s because buyer personas can help you define the target audience for your business.

Each social media platform has unique audience demographics

If you’re thinking you can skip this step because you’re strapped for time, we are going to implore you to reconsider. Far too many small businesses make this mistake and end up drowning in the turbulent ocean that is social media. Don’t become its next victim!

It would be a mistake to look at Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and think the same brand message will work across each. Just have a look at these user demographic stats:

Facebook

  • Average age range of active users: 25 to 45 years old
  • Gender dispersion: 60% female to 40% male

Twitter

  • Average age range of active users: 18 to 29 years old
  • Gender dispersion: 50% female to 50% male

Pinterest

  • Average age range of active users: 18 to 35 years old
  • Gender dispersion: 80% female to 20% male

If you don’t define your target audience, you could invest a lot of time on a platform that doesn’t cater to your target audience. If you’ve heard those horror stories from other business owners who sunk a lot of time and money into social media, this often lies at the heart of the issue.

Conclusion

You can generate a ton of success for your small business with social media marketing, but you don’t need to be on every platform. Like many other things in life, you could easily spread yourself too thin.

We recommend starting out slowly and picking the social media platform that best aligns with your target audience. After that, you can consider expanding to subsequent platforms that may also fit your customer demographic and your business’s brand.

Also be sure that you don’t forget the social aspect of social media. This is not one-way street for you to blast out promotions and updates about your business. The brands that have found success here have learned that 2 way communication with their audience is essential!

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